We are all aware that as the population grows older that the cost for medical coverage is going to rise. However, in a recent article in Time Magazine – Bitter Pill painted a dismal picture that could happen to any of us. With the recent changes in medical insurance administration because of what the government has tried to implement, we have seen costs go up. In the case of special needs like that of cancer the cost has raised into such a high range, that it has lead to near bankruptcy for some.
A family whose child was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma recently, had their world shattered because of their inability to purchase the needed level of insurance. The reason was they had just opened a business and could not afford the nearly $500 a month price tag. Instead, they opted for a discounted plan that would only support $2000 a day for any hospital costs. The comprehensive plan they passed on would have ran at twenty percent of the business income. What really made this a painful choice was that the cancer center they called for help would not accept their discounted insurance.
The one thing that stood out was that the six day examination of their child would be around $49,000, in advance mind you. Fortunately, the grandmother was able to cover this expense. After another week, the bill went up to $35,000 for treatment to begin. What transpired in the waiting room took an hour and a half because the center wanted a $7500 advance just to allow the child to see a doctor. The total amount of the complete incident ended up at close to $159,000, in advance.
Another example, provided by the Medical Billing Advocates, a business that questions how charges for routine procedures and supplies are calculated, shows that some of the billing disputes cover things such as, for reoccurring simple blood tests i.e. a prick of the finger, a fee of $39 is accrued at each testing. The price attached to that cup of pills a patient receives sometimes as frequently as 4 times in a 24 hour period is $12, for the cup. Additionally, the questionable charge of $400 for a stuffed toy teddy bear and a warm blanket to aid in recovery after surgery, Ms. Pat Palmer, who runs the company, stated these were some of the issues, which her company disputes on a regular basis.
If the price for the service is so high it stands to reason, so are the medication costs. Nevertheless, in 2010 the revenue profit for this center, that is part of a non-profit University in the state of Texas, reported a twenty-six percent margin from just over $2 million for that year. This if for a service oriented business. Things are going to have to change if we consider the average age of the population will soon be greater than 50 years, and any major medical needs are going to eat up the average retirement if there is insufficient medical insurance affordable enough to cover the possible costs.